Twenty-eight freshman colt and gelding trotters will face a major test in Tuesday's $184,588 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. While most of the youngsters are impeccably bred and well connected, two from trainer Julie Miller's stable—Prospect Hill and Klutzy—appear particularly promising.
The stake, known as the Hickory Pride, spans races 1-4, with Andy Miller driving both Prospect Hill (race 3, post 4) and Klutzy (race 2, post 3). First post is 1:05 p.m. Also on Tuesday, The Meadows will announce the field for the $450,000 (est) Delvin Miller Pace for the Orchids. Adios eliminations are set for Saturday, July 21, with the final the following Saturday.
Prospect Hill passed his initial stake challenge with flying colors with a 9 1/4-length romp in 1:56.4 in a PA All-Stars split. The son of Muscle Hill-Louise Kemp earned back a big chunk of the $130,000 he cost as a yearling.
"The Muscle Hill colts are high priced, so we had to spend a little bit more for him," Andy Miller said. "He's done everything we've asked of him. He's very playful but versatile. He doesn't have to be on the front or come from behind. In the All-Stars, he trotted home in :28 handily. Before that at the Meadowlands, he followed a couple good colts and finished right close to them."
Klutzy, of course, is derived from the Yiddish word for clumsy, and although the name doesn't suggest the grace and power you'd like to see in a young horse, Miller indicates the connections never considered changing it.
"I don't put a whole lot into names," he said. ""That's what his name was, so we left it at that."
Sure enough, after winning at first asking, the son of Cantab Hall-Upside Hanover — a $55,000 yearling acquisition — had a close encounter with a pylon in an All-Stars division and broke stride. His driver, however, exonerates him.
"A pylon was leaning out onto the track," Miller said. "He got a little close to it, jumped away from it and made a break. It wasn't really his fault."
However they fare Tuesday, the two youngsters are extending the extraordinary relationship between the Millers and the colts' owner, Stroy Inc., the nom de course of Natalia Stroy. A resident of Russia, Stroy visits the U.S. several times each year to touch base with the Millers and review her American operations.
It's a warming note in this era of strained Russo-American relations that has injected an international flavor into the sport. The partnership now races a horse with a Yiddish-influenced name as well as the 3-year-old trotter Seviyorum, a Turkish expression that translates as "I love" or "I like." They also campaigned the top trotter Devious Man, who earned nearly $1.4 million for them.
Nothing klutzy about that. (The Meadows)